As sales from clean beauty brands continue to fuel growth in prestige skin care, Amorepacific Group is launching its own clean skin-care brand, Primera, into the U.S. market.
Primera, an eco-friendly line formulated with the seeds of plants and fruits, has until now only been distributed in the company’s native South Korea. About 25 skus are to launch today on sephora.com, and a selection of five key hero products is to debut in July in all Sephora doors, with the broader assortment arriving in 50 doors this fall. The line is packaged in completely recyclable materials and contains no parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, synthetic colorants and fragrances, among other ingredients consumers are growing increasingly wary of.
Hero products include Alpine Berry Water Cream, $40; Clean Berry Lip Mask, $20; Miracle Seed Essence, $58; Wild Seed Firming Serum, $74; and Mild Facial Peeling Gel, $38.
The brand has had a historically small footprint, with distribution limited to a handful of department stores and one flagship door in South Korea. But last year the brand entered travel retail, where it saw a “huge” rise in demand, said Amorepacific U.S. president and general manager Jessica Hanson, likely thanks to the rise in consumer demand for products marketed as natural and clean.
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“When I first started [with Amorepacific] in 2017, natural, organic and clean was just starting to heat up and on my first trip to Korea, [I saw] Primera was already in that space,” said Hanson. “With that added layer of doing good for the world, it’s perfect timing to launch in the U.S.”
The U.S. launch of Primera skirts Amorepacific’s general strategy for international expansion — typically, the company launches brands in China second. However, as domestic sales of some of the group’s brands have slowed, particularly in the home shopping and road shop channels, Amorepacific Group has accelerated expansion in markets outside of Asia, as well as increased distribution in digital and multibrand stores.
It was Sephora that scouted Primera for the U.S. market, said Hanson. “They saw the brand on a trip to South Korea, and they started tracking how many people were searching for the brand name and product names,” said Hanson. “They came to us about a year and a half ago and said they wanted to build the brand out here.”
Primera fits into Sephora’s Clean at Sephora program, an initiative the store launched last year that identifies products that are formulated without a long list of many ingredients considered by consumers to be controversial, such as parabens, sulfates and mineral oil.
Amorepacific Group would not comment on sales projections, though industry sources estimate the line could do $10 million in retail sales in its first year on shelf. With 100 stockkeeping units across hair, men’s, baby, and feminine hygiene already available in South Korea and not launched yet in the States, Hanson wagers the brand could ultimately grow to become a significant part of Amorepacific’s U.S. business.
Amorepacific is ramping up the presence of several of its brands here. Cult favorite skin-care and makeup brand Innisfree is this summer opening up several stores on the West Coast after launching in the U.S. in 2017. Mamonde, a flower-based skin-care line, launched last year at Ulta Beauty.